The Role of Financial Inclusion at CGI America

Fri, 2013-06-28 06:00
This month, Grameen America joined Bill Clinton and the Clinton Global Initiative to mark the start of the third meeting of CGI America in Chicago. Nearly 1,000 business, government, and non-profit leaders converged to address the recovery of the United States’ economy. This year's meeting included remarks from Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, United Sates Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. As part of the financial inclusion track, Grameen America worked together with for-profits, not-for-profits, and government agencies to share ideas about how to promote financial inclusion across the US. The primary focus was on individuals who have no access to traditional financing in the US—such as savings, credit, and finances in the workplace—understanding why that is the case, and trying to come up with solutions. Throughout the meeting, there was an exciting emphasis on harnessing the potential of technology, specifically mobile applications, to promote financial inclusion. We discussed the technology interface and accessibility, as well as the technology itself, to pinpoint how we could best reach individuals that have no access to financial services. The main challenges have been getting people to focus on poverty in the US, and the cost of technology as a solution. In many ways, the US lags behind the developing world when it comes to using innovative technology to alleviate poverty. Our goal was to identify how new innovative products, like M-PESA in Kenya, could provide individuals with the tools they need. In the non-profit sector, it’s vital to look at what others have done and to bring together those who are committed to thinking of solutions to financial exclusion and poverty in the US. CGI America is leading the way in this area. It has given Grameen America the opportunity to understand the landscape, and to think about how we can learn from others while maintaining the essence of the Grameen model. At the Closing Plenary Session, former President Clinton announced the 74 new Commitments to Action, which aim to positively impact the lives of more than 2 million people in the United States. Learn more about the 74 Commitments in this report from the Clinton Global Initiative. Follow us on Facebook  and Twitter for additional updates on microfinance and financial inclusion in the US. 

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